Yeonmi’s story began when she fled from North Korea on March 31, 2007. Thirteen years old Yeonmi had too cross the Yalu River during the night with her mother heading to neighboring China without an Idea of what to do next. They had to endure a harrowing journey across China, before they finally went to South Korea using a plane. Although her father managed to escape North Korea to join to her, he later died of untreated cancer. From the story, Yeonmi had an exceptional character to survive the journey since she had to endure abuse and starvation along the way.
Her story has inspired many readers and has put North Korea under spotlight for the various human rights abuses committed by politicians. As it has been the custom in North Korea, the Government has produced a different version of the story to discredit the key parts. The Government released a propaganda story on NK News titled “Park Yeon Mi, The Puppet of the Human Rights Plot” meant to ridicule Yeonmi and her mother. The story has portrayed Yeonmi and her mother as agents of the United States. There are also doubters outside North Korea who have discredited her story saying there are discrepancies and inaccuracies in the story and about the state of her country.
On her part, she has defended the truth of the story saying some details were changed to protect part of the family members she left in North Korea. Events such as sexual abuse have been covered in shame in a way she described as a reason to hide her secrets. She describes in her book “In Order To Live” that her mother was raped in front of her after she offered herself to one of the traffickers threatening to rape her. She says it was difficult for her to admit she was raped at the age of thirteen. Reason.com published the main article found at https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/15/yeonmi-parks-north-korean-defector-story
The point is that the stake is high for the people of North Korea and all the refugees worldwide. Exaggerating the facts undermines the action needed to shape the country from concerning political persecution and narratives of widespread human rights violations.